Reviews

Impact Wrestling – Emergence 2022 Review (Aug. 12)

impact wrestling emergence 2022

Impact Wrestling presented Emergence 2022 with some big matches including Josh Alexander defending the Impact World Title against Alex Shelley, Honor No More faced the Bullet Club in a big tag team match, and Jordynne Grace defended the Knockouts Title against Mia Yim and a whole lot more.

I was pretty excited going into this show as it was one of the better cards that Impact had put together since I started watching it again regularly in January 2020. There were no matches that I didn’t have some interest in and most of the feuds have been given significant television time on their weekly shows, except Sami Callihan vs Steve Maclin which has been not given the attention that I would expect from an upper-mid card feud. I was certainly most invested in the main event between Josh Alexander and Alex Shelley, but Honor No More vs Bullet Club has been an interesting feud also, along with continual featuring of the X-Division, headed by champion Mike Bailey.

I will be giving quick thoughts and ratings on the show, as family circumstances have meant that I don’t have the time this weekend to write a full column which would take around 4-5 hours.

I did not watch the pre-show. Here are the results:

* Brian Myers defeated Bhupinder Gujjar to retain the Impact Digital Media Championship

* VXT defeated Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary to become NEW Knockouts Tag Team Champions. I am happy to see this result as the team of Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo have been terrific all year as either singles wrestlers or as a tag team.

Onto the main show!

Impact Wrestling presents ‘Emergence’: August 12, 2022 from Chicago, Illinois

Match #1: X-Division Championship: Mike Bailey (c) vs Jack Evans

I have watched every episode of AEW Dynamite since its inception, but I’m struggling to remember anything of Jack Evans in great detail. Google told me he was in a tag team with Angelico but even that evades my memory. Anyway, every match Bailey has been involved in lately has been really good so I expect nothing less here. This was a decent opener but they did have some chemistry issues, which is understandable given it was their first match together here in Impact. Evans looked a little lost in a few spots and his offense was a bit slow. The end of the match was a little bit messy, but Bailey preditctably picked up the win with Ultima Weapon after 14 minutes. After wrestling a few ring-ins over the last few weeks, I’m looking forward to Bailey being able to sink his teeth into a lengthy feud soon.

Winner by pinfall and STILL X-Division Champion: Mike Bailey

Rating ***

Match #2: Steve Maclin vs Sami Callihan

This had the potential to be a captivating feud, however, it hasn’t been given the TV time that it warranted. The match should be a hard-hitting and personal brawl, after Maclin cost Callihan his match with Moose at Against All Odds last month. This came to fruition as Maclin attacked Callihan before he had made his way down the ramp and they brawled all around the ring before the bell had rung to begin the match! Callihan brought a steel chair into the ring, despite it not being a no-disqualification match, then shoved the referee as he called him to put down the chair. Then Maclin attacked the referee as things really started to get out of control! Callihan threw Maclin into the crowd and they continued to brawl into the crowd as the commentators moved on to discussing the next match. It was effective in adding more heat to the feud and considering their lack of build up recently, smart booking. It was an entertaining 5-minute brawl and the rivalry rolls on.

The match did not begin/ No Star Rating.

Match #3: Chris Sabin & Kushida vs Violent by Design (Eric Young & Deaner)

It’s a smart decision to add Young into the match at the last minute as it adds more star power to the match, but also adds to the storyline where Young needs to gain control of his failing faction. This was a fast-paced tag team match that never really took a breath the entire time. Both teams had periods of dominance during the match and they both capitalised on the referee’s leniency to utilise their double team moves. The finish came when Deaner distracted the referee with the flagpole, Doering pushed Kushida off the top rope onto the floor, which allowed Young to nail a distracted Sabin with the Piledriver to pick up the win. It was the right decision to go with VBD for the victory, as they need the momentum and Sabin/Kushida aren’t going to be a regular tag team. I enjoyed this a lot.

Winners by pinfall: VBD

Rating: ***1/2

Kenny King cut a promo calling out Heath, but Sami Callihan and Maclin showed up continuing to brawl through the crowd. Heath snuck into the ring as King was watching this and nailed him with the Wake Up Call again. Heath continues to win the mind games over Honor No More. He cut a quick promo to fire up the crowd.

Match #4: Triple A Special Attraction Match: Rey Horus vs Bandido

It’s Lucha time! My knowledge of these competitors is limited- I know Bandido was ROH champion but I’ve never seen a match of his, and prior to the promotion of this match up I had never heard of Rey Horus. I was impressed that Bandido was able to mix it up between some power moves and then impressive kicks and diving offense. The crowd didn’t mind that there was no story to this match up as both combatants had the crowd engaged from the first minute. Bandido got the win with a springboard German suplex with a bridge, in a really fun match that showcased both men’s athletic ability.

Winner by pinfall: Bandido

Rating: ***3/4

Moose was interviewed backstage by Gia Miller, reiterating that he is no friend of Steve Maclin and if he wants to beat up Sami Callihan then he will do so because he wants to. The brawl between Callihan and Maclin interrupted the interview as the fight raged on. They continued the fight back at ringside until Scott D’Amore came out and made the match a No-Disqualification match with Moose barred from ringside.

Match #2 (part 2!) No Disqualification match: Sami Callihan vs Steve Maclin

These two just beat each other around and inside the ring with all sorts of weapons. Maclin was busted open early on after it finally became a match and took some nasty bumps including an Exploder Suplex on a set up steel chair. Maclin looked to have the match won after hitting a low blow and the KIA but Callihan would not be denied and hit a barrage of low blows, then zip-tied Maclin’s hands behind his back and destroyed Maclin with a Cactus Driver 97 for the win. This was violent and rough but I would’ve gone with Maclin for the win as this feels like a feud-ending win for the face in Callihan, just as the rivalry is beginning. However, it was a really entertaining fight with a really personal feel to it and both men brought their nasty side to the match. The blight on Callihan is that he is starting to become a wrestler who relies solely on hardcore-style matches which can get repetitive. Maclin is a great all-rounder that deserves better booking but he’s on the right trajectory at least by being involved in a big profile feud against Callihan.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Callihan

Rating: It was hard to rate as a whole but I’ll go for ***3/4 for the match.

Match #5: 10 Man Tag Team Match: Honor No More (Eddie Edwards, PCO, Vincent, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett w/Maria) vs Bullet Club (Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, Ace Austin, Chris Bey & Hikuleo)

Kenny King is out of the match as he said in his promo earlier in the show because he wanted to watch out for Heath, but he got attacked so he’s laid out anyway. Hikuleo only shows up for these Impact Plus specials so I would rather they either kept it as 8 men who regularly are on Impact, rather than bring someone in who the audience aren’t familiar with. Even El Phantasmo had a few matches on weekly TV. Just a small gripe and yes I miss Jay White on Impact TV too. They billed this as a no-disqualification match but I just assumed all multi-man matches were No-DQ anyway. The first half of the match was 8 men brawling around the ring whilst the legal men went at it inside the ring. Then most of the wrestlers took turns performing diving sentons over the rope onto the sea of humanity outside of the ring. And then…it was time for the weapons to enter the mix. Gallows and PCO tried to out-do their spot from Impact 2 weeks ago where Gallows choke slammed PCO through the ring. On this occasion, Gallows choke bombed PCO off the railing in the crowd down to the floor below! The match was just absolute chaos as the wrestlers brawled all over the arena, at ringside and brought out the tables where Vincent hit a Swanton from the top rope onto Gallows who was on the table on the outside. The finish came when the Good Brothers went for the Magic Killer but Gallows was too beaten up to perform the move. Bennett hit the spear on Anderson and Taven hit the Climax on Gallows through the trash can for the pinfall. It was a weak-looking finish to a NO-DQ match but as Gallows had sustained so much punishment then it made sense. This is another match that was hard to rate because there was so much going on but again it was an enjoyable brawl which featured a few big spots that the crowd loved. I almost went 4 stars but the finish did not really match the brutality of the rest of the match. It continues the theme of the night which certainly seemed to be all about entertaining the fans. Good stuff here.

Winners by pinfall: Honor No More (HNM remain as a stable and now receive a Tag Team Championship match in the future)

Rating: ***3/4

Match #6: Impact Knockouts Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Mia Yim

I really liked Grace’s counter to a corner spinning DDT into the Muscle Buster. Another awesome spot was Yim hitting Code Blue off the top rope for a really close 2 count. Grace got the victory after countering a Package Piledriver into the Grace Driver which she hit much safer than the last time she performed the move, a few weeks ago. This was a terrific match- everything was so smooth and the counter wrestling was spot on. They match up so well against each other and I’d argue that it was almost the best women’s match of the year so far, that I have seen. Impact’s Knockouts division is on fire at present.

Winner by pinfall AND STILL Impact Knockouts Champion: Jordynne Grace

Rating: **** It was the best match of the show so far, well done ladies.

Post-match, Masha Slamovich entered the ring and confronted Grace. Masha is undefeated so I was wondering when this might happen. I was hoping for another match between Yim and Grace after the quality of this match, but it’s probably time for Masha to move on from the squash matches.

There was a video package promoting the main event for the Impact World Championship. This has the potential to be a match-of-the-year contender.

Match #7: Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs Alex Shelley

(I’ll do play-by-play for the second half of the match.)

Shelley was fully prepared for his first-ever World Championship match as he targeted the left arm of Alexander throughout the match, to negate the use of the C4 Spike. Shelley wrestled a much more calculated and aggressive style in this match, preferring submissions and strikes, rather than his usual high-flying, athletic style of wrestling. The match pace really picked up after Shelley hit a Frog Splash but Alexander followed it with the anklelock. Shelley countered a powerbomb into a facebuster, then a superkick and the Air Raid Crash for another close 2 count. Shelley was beginning to get frustrated as he couldn’t put Alexander away. Alexander rolled to the outside to get some separation. Shelley followed him but Alexander quickly rammed him into the steel steps. Shelley hit an impressive Slice Bread on the floor at ringside. He rolled Alexander back into the ring for a 2 count. Shelley applied the Motor City Stretch but Alexander rolled backwards to reach the ropes. Shelley again tied up the left arm and chopped away at Alexander. Alexander was selling the arm injury really well and this added to the drama of the match up. Alexander had to muster all of his strength to hit a pair of German suplexes. Alexander countered a top rope attempt from Shelley into a facebuster. Alexander hit a stiff forearm shot for a close 2 count. Shelley tried for an enziguiri but Alexander scouted it and applied the anklelock which he switched into a sharpshooter. Shelley fought out but Alexander went back to the anklelock. Shelley again fought out as he kicked the injured left arm and locked in the Motor City Stretch again but not for long as Alexander again fought out. Shelley hit the Shell Shocked and then another one where he really spiked Alexander on his head. Alexander kicked out right before 3 and Shelley locked in the Stretch again! Alexander rolled through into a pin attempt so Shelley had to break the hold. Shelley tried for the Sliced Bread but Alexander countered it into a Tombstone Piledriver, wow! That was tremendous. Shelley kicked out right as the referee was coming down for 3. Alexander couldn’t lift Shelley up for the C4 but hit Shelley with his own Shell Shocked! Alexander finally lifted up Shelley and nailed a massive C4 Spike for the win. Post-match Alexander sold his exhaustion and the show went off the air pretty quickly.

Winner and STILL Impact World Champion: Josh Alexander

Analysis: ****1/4 That was a terrific wrestling match that had a little bit of everything- submissions, counter-wrestling, some high-flying moves and plenty of tension. Alexander had to pull out all the stops to finally put Shelley away, and that puts over Shelley as a tough combatant even in defeat. The last ten minutes was a clinic and Shelley was close to winning on half a dozen occasions. Alexander retaining is fine with me and I’m happy for Shelley that he got his title match at last. He certainly made the most of it.

 

Final Thoughts

This was a great wrestling show from Impact. I have rated all of the matches as at least three stars so there was nothing average or below par. The opening contest between Bailey and Evans had some chemistry issues, but they overcame it to have a fine match. There were some more brawling-style matches in Callihan vs Maclin and the 10-man tag match. Callihan vs Maclin was unique in the fact that they didn’t start the match officially until they came back from brawling in the crowd. When they made it official, it ended up being a brutal weapons match where Callihan picked up the win. Mia Yim and Jordynne Grace had an impressive bout for the Knockouts Championship. They matched up really well against each other and everything flowed so smoothly. I really enjoyed their match.

The main event lived up to my expectations as a terrific match-up between two of Impact’s top stars. Shelley, who is known more as a tag-team wrestler, certainly showed he is capable of holding his own in singles actions. Alexander continues to perform at a really high standard. He has also developed from a tag-team wrestler into a tough, babyface champion who consistently has great to excellent wrestling matches. He has really improved his selling and this was a focal point throughout this match as it really put over Shelley as a threat, with the targeting of the left arm of Alexander. If you only have a limited time, I’d recommend watching both the men’s and women’s main title matches.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Any feedback or comments are welcome. My email address is kristian.l.thompson@gmail.com in case anybody wants to get in touch with me and Twitter is @thomok6 as well. I’ll be back for my regular weekly Impact review next week. Thanks for reading!